It’s never too late to repent …

In the name of Allah; all praise is due to He, The One. I send peace and blessing upon his final prophet and messenger, Al-Mustafa, upon his family, companions, and whomsoever treads the same path in goodness until The Day of Judgment, Youm Al-Qiyaamah. To Proceed:

Today i was listening to the radio in a taxi and the speaker, who’s name I dont remember, was reminding the youth to return to Allah for forgiveness and it made me think I should do the same. The speaker mentioned the ayahs,

“I said (to them): ‘Ask forgiveness from your Lord; Verily, He is Oft-Forgiving. He will send rain to you in abundance, And give you increase in wealth and children, and bestow on you gardens and bestow on you rivers. What is the matter with you, [that you fear not Allâh (His punishment), and] you hope not for reward (from Allâh or you believe not in His Oneness).” [1]

Imam Al-Qurtubi says in his Tafseer

of the Qur’an:

“Ask forgiveness from your Lord”, i.e., beseech the forgiveness for your previous sins with sincerity and Iman [belief]. “Verily, He is Oft-Forgiving”, i.e., and this is an encouragement to make Towbah [sincere repentance] from Him [Allah (Mighty and Majestic)]. It has been narrated on Hudayfa bin Al-Yaman that The Prophet (sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said, “Istighfaar [seeking repentance] erases the sins.”“[2]

On the authority of Anas, who said: I heard The Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) say: Allah the Almighty has said: “O son of Adam, so long as you call upon Me and ask of Me, I shall forgive you for what you have done, and I shall not mind. O son of Adam, were your sins to reach the clouds of the sky and were you then to ask forgiveness of Me, I would forgive you. O son of Adam, were you to come to Me with sins nearly as great as the earth and were you then to face Me, ascribing no partner to Me, I would bring you forgiveness nearly as great as its.”[3]

From the many benefits Shaykh Al-Uthaymeen (rahimahullah—may Allah have mercy upon him) brings in his explanation of this hadeeth, he mentions:

Indeed Allah forgives all sins no matter how great they be; by His statement, ” … were your sins to reach the clouds of the sky and were you then to ask forgiveness of Me, I would forgive you … “ And when the person seeks forgiveness from Allah (Mighty and Majestic), from any sin whether humongous or minute, Allah (The High) will forgive it. This is like He (The High)’s statement, “And whoever does evil or wrongs himself but afterwards seeks Allâh’s Forgiveness, he will find Allâh Oft-­Forgiving, Most Merciful.”[4]

But is Istighfaar by merely by statement, ex: “Oh Allah forgive me!” or “I seek the forgiveness of Allah!”?

The answer: No, it necessitates the means of achieving forgiveness; otherwise his supplication is like a form of mockery. Like the person who says, “Oh Allah provide me with righteous offspring”, and doesn’t do anything to achieve this offspring. And the one whom does [take the means] will receive the forgiveness of Allah.

Towbah, it is returning from disobedience of Allah to obeying him and it requires five conditions:

1.) Sincerity: And sincerity is a condition in every act or worship, and Towbah is from them. Allah (The High) said, “And they were commanded not, but that they should worship Allâh, and worship none but Him Alone (abstaining from ascribing partners to Him) … “[5] Therefore, whoever repents so that people can see him or because he was scared from the Sultan, not in magnification of Allah (Mighty and Majestic), then his Towbah will not be accepted.

2. Remorse for what has occurred: It is refraction and shame in front of Allah (Mighty and Majestic) for committing a prohibited action or leaving off an obligatory one.

If someone were to say, “Remorse is something internal; so, how can I control it?” The answer: He controls it if he feels shameful and shy from Allah (Mighty and Majestic). He says [to himself], “If it comes to me [again] I wont do it”, or what resembles that.

3. Removing the sin that you repented for: If the sin was leaving of an obligatory act then it is possible to perform it; [rather,] it is obligatory to uphold the obligatory actions. For instance, if someone commented a sin by withholding the Zakat, then it is necessary to pay the Zakat. Or if he committed a prohibited action like stealing someone’s money, then it is necisarry that he returns the money to its owner; otherwise, he will not achieve Towbah.

4. Resolve to not repeat [the act]: This is a necessity. If he repented from this sin but has his intentions to repeat it the next time he has the opportunity, then this is not retention. Rather, if he has resolve to not repeat [the act], then [at a later time] it becomes beautiful to him and he repeats it the first Towbah is not negated. But, it is obligatory to renew his Towbah for the second action.

And with this, it is obligatory for us to know the difference between saying: it is a condition to not repeat it and it is a condition to have resolve to not repeat it.

5. For the Towbah to be in the time when it is still accepted: If it is in the time that it is not accepted then it wont benefit him. And it is of two types, specific and general.

The specific: if the person is time is almost up [i.e., he is about to die] then the Towbah wont benefit him. With the statement of Allah (The High), “And of no effect is the repentance of those who continue to do evil deeds until death faces one of them and he says: “Now I repent;” nor of those who die while they are disbelievers. For them We have prepared a painful torment.”[6] And when Fir’own was drowning he said, “I believe that there is no god except the god that Israeel believed in and I am from the Muslims.” So, it was said to him, “Now while you refused to believe before and you were one of the Mufsidûn (evil-doers, corrupts, etc.).”. [7] I.e., now you believe, and it wont benefit him.

As for the general, it is the rising of the sun from the west. Indeed the sun rises in the east and sets in the west; thus, if it rises in the west all of the people will believe, but their belief wont benefit anyone. Their Iman wasn’t [present] before or had they achieved any good [deeds]. And with this The Prophet (sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said, “Hijra will never stop until Towbah is cut off, and Towbah wont cut off until the sun rises from the west.”[8]

So, these are the conditions of Towbah, and the majority of scholars, may the mercy of Allah me upon them, say, “The conditions of towboat are three: remorse, removing it, and resolve to not repeat it.” But what we have mentioned [Sh. Al-Uthaymeen] is more complete and what we mentioned is necessary.

[In conclusion], If a person commits a major sin and then meets Allah without having associate partners will him, he will be forgiven. But this is not something general as the statement of Allah (The High), “Verily, Allâh forgives not that partners should be set up with him in worship, but He forgives except that (anything else) to whom He pleases … “[9] Therefore, his statement in the hadeeth, ” …  I would bring you forgiveness nearly as great as its”, this is if he wills, and if he doesn’t then he will be punished for his sin.[10]

I ask Allah to make us from the people that implement and adhere to this; furthermore, to increase us in beneficial knowledge and righteous actions Ameen! With that, I send peace and blessings upon our prophet Muhammad, upon his family, companions, and those who came after him.


[1] Surah Nuh (71) : 10-13

[2] Taken from:

[3] At-Tirmithi, and he said its authentic

[4] Surah An-Nisaa (4) : 110

[5]  Surah Al-Bayyinah (98) : 5

[6] Surah An-Nisa (4) : 18

[7] Surah Yunus (10) :91

[8] Abu Dawud and Ahmed

[9] Surah An-Nisa (4) : 48

[10] Taken from “The Explanation of Imam An-Nowawi’s 40 Hadeeth” by Sh. Muhammad bin Saleh Al-Uthaymeen, pages 433-436


Compiled & Translated by:

Abdul-Malik Merchant

Umm al-Qura University

Makkah Al-Mukarramah, KSA

Rabi’ Al-Awal 25, 1432 — February 28, 2011


About Abdul-Malik Merchant
A student at Umm al-Qura University, but nowhere NEAR a scholar. Just a normal dude who was blessed with a wonderful opportunity

4 Responses to It’s never too late to repent …

  1. abumaryam says:

    Walhamdulilah!! Baarak Allahu Feek, May Allah make us All of the sincere repenters Ameen!!!

  2. Pingback: It’s never too late to repent …

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